ULM pauses fall football practice after 9 new COVID-19 positive tests results

ULM pauses fall football practice after 9 new COVID-19 positive tests results
ULM Warhawks (Source: ULM Athletics)

MONROE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks announced Friday, August 21, that they have paused fall football practice after nine new COVID-19 positive test results over the past week.

“We remain committed to fostering a safe campus environment for our student-athletes as they pursue academic and athletic excellence this fall,” said athletic director Scott McDonald. “So, following the guidelines created by our COVID-19 Task Force, it’s time to hit the pause button on preseason football practice. COVID testing, administered early this week, produced nine new positives, and as a result, our protocols call for the suspension of all football-related activities. The successful application of those protocols also calls for active contact tracing to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

The program said it will resume preseason practice once all of the COVID-19 Task Force protocols have been satisfied and hopes that happens early next week.

“Our primary focus remains on creating an environment that ensures the health and safety of our student-athletes,” added head coach Matt Viator. “We’re fully aware that we’re managing a fluid situation, especially with the reopening of campus and the beginning of the fall semester. While disappointed, we realized that the suspension of practice was a real possibility sometime this preseason. With the pause, our team remains optimistic that we’ll be able to safely compete this fall.”

McDonald said they had anticipated an increase in the possibility of COVID-19 exposure with the campus reopening and students returning for the fall semester. He added they will wait for the latest round of test results and continue to monitor the student-athletes that are quarantined and isolated.

ULM noted it has administered 1,404 combined tests (PCR and antibody across all sports) since mid-June with 34 total positives (student-athletes and staff).

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